Monday, March 30, 2009

I heart her.

Jana Morgan, I mean. Just take a look here and you'll understand just why she's so awesome. Blessed. That's how I feel. It's amazing to see how God knows to put the right people in your life.

Friday, March 20, 2009

How We Met Our Photographer

I'd been thinking about engagement pictures for a while. I knew I didn't want your standard Olan Mills stop and pose pictures. I wanted them to be a good representation of Chuck and I. You know? LOTS of character, 'cause really, character is definitely something neither one of us is short of. I was joking with him one day and told him that we should get our pictures done while we were in Hawaii. His response was: "Whatever you want honey." Yessssssss...... "Hey babe! We're going to be in Hawaii for two weeks!" Double Yessssssss......

Back then I was just toying with the idea, but I started Google searching Hawaii photographers. You can imagine the long list I got in return! Obviously there are a lot of photographers in Hawaii...I mean, when you live in paradise, you can't really go wrong!

I started first with the ones that had websites, of course. I narrowed it down to ones that had the style and feel I was looking for. I'm not even sure how many I contacted or e-mailed. I even asked one of Chuck's friends in HI if she knew of anyone that was good, but affordable. Everyone I contacted was either too expensive or they wouldn't let us print the pictures on our own. Things weren't really looking good.

I prayed to God to either help with my search or give me acceptance that it wouldn't happen. The next day I come across Jana Morgan's website. I fell in love with her photos and her style. But I thought, "Man, she's good! We probably won't be able to afford her..." So at first, I just drooled and wished.

My day went on and I searched some more. I even went on the Honolulu Craigslist to see if there were any affordable photographers. And what do I see? An ad that Jana placed in Craigslist! Not just one, but I kept seeing her ad every few entries. So I finally thought, "What the heck? Wouldn't hurt to contact her."

So I filled out the little contact form on her site (You know? Standard name, e-mail, phone, description...). I told her our situation: that we just got engaged, love Hawaii, I'm obsessed with getting our e-pictures done while we were there and (most importantly) we didn't have much money to spend. Okay, hit send.

I was actually greeted with an e-mail from Jana later that night. It started off with: "Is that a 407 area code?!" Turns out, Jana and her husband used to live in Orlando! She and her husband lived in the Waterford area. She also went to school in Sarasota and they had just visited his family near Lakeland during the holidays.
Small friggin' world!

YES! Something in common that I can cling to! We started e-mailing back and forth and I explained to her more about our situation. I was really drawn to her because she just seemed like a genuinely kind soul. It radiated in her e-mails. Not to mention she was totally in our budget AND she was letting us have shared rights to our pictures!
Ask and you shall receive...

We set up a time to meet her and her husband, David, for lunch at Cholo's (THE BEST Mexican restaurant on the North Shore--maybe ever) that first Sunday we were in Hawaii. Over lunch we found out that David was born and raised near Lakeland and graduated from UCF. And his favorite movie of all time is Dumb & Dumber! (Oh my goodness, they might as well call themselves family!). So Chuck and David bonded over redneck relatives and Dumb & Dumber quotes. :)

Our engagement session was fantastic! As you can see:

You can view the rest of our engagement photos here on Pictage. The online album is available until June 12, so you've got some time if you haven't seen all the pictures yet.

We ended up hanging out with them a few more times during our trip. It was seriouly like hanging out with old friends! They're awesome! From hanging out at Waiola's and getting shave ice...

or hanging with them in Waikiki for our last day

We certainly have been blessed with awesome new friends! We hope to see them again soon! Until then... "Goodbye, my loooooooovveee!"

I almost forgot!

What's a vacation without pictures?!

For those of you who don't have Facebook, you can view our Hawaii pics here.


Next up... our engagement pics! Stay tuned!

I got a story! Like to hear it? Here it goes...

Sit back and relax... this is going to be a long one!

It's been a little over a week since we've been back from our trip to Hawaii. It was two weeks of awesomeness, lemme tell ya! And having Chuck pass his physical agility tests was just the cherry on the sundae. :)

For those of you who don't know, (although a lot of you reading this already do) Chuck has been in the application process for the City and County of Honolulu Fire Department. It's actually been his dream to live in Hawaii and work for the Fire Department there for a while now, even before we met. He actually lived there for a time in hopes of getting hired, but decided to come back to FL. Good thing he did, otherwise we may not have even met! But it was really strange and somewhat serendipitous that he met me, a girl who's been infatuated with Hawaii since, oh I don't know....forever?

Anyway, I digress... Back to the story. This testing process is pretty time consuming and costly since he's been having to fly back to HI for each phase. The first phase was a written test which he flew out to take in mid-August (I believe) of last year. They said candidates would be notified by mail whether they passed or not in about 6-8 weeks.

As many of you know, my father passed away suddenly in early October. About a week later, Chuck got his letter from Honolulu saying he passed his test. At first he said, "No, we can't move to Hawaii. You can't leave your mom and I can't leave you." In my head I actually thought: " Hawaii?" We kind of left it at that for a while, while my family and I struggled to put the pieces of our lives back together.

But no matter how much we tried to deny it, there was still that lingering notion pulling us back to Hawaii. I was actually getting counseling at this time and I would always talk about how much we wanted to live there. Finally I decided to tell Chuck that we needed to see where this would take us. Otherwise, there would always be those "what ifs." At least we'll know for sure this time.

Talking to my mom about it helped too. She knows that we have to live our lives too. It's going to be really tough to leave her if we do end up out there. I just remember asking her if she would be okay with that and her response: "I'll just call you every day." (Our master plan, really, is to have EVERYONE move to HI with us! hehe...)

Then came a packet from Honolulu with the details of the physical agility test detailing the dates, times and locations for it. There are two parts of the physical: the CPAT (Candidate Physical Assessment Test, and obstacle course set-up) and a 100-meter swim & dive. Normally they combine it all in one day, but they broke it up this time. The CPAT one week then (pending you passing the CPAT), the swim & dive the following week. So when Chuck told me that we would need to be in Hawaii for two whole weeks (OMG!) I was ecstatic! Then I remembered, "Oh wait... My job only gives me a week's vacation every year." Crap.

I told my boss about this right before we left for Christmas break. He actually took the news a lot better than expected! I wouldn't get paid for the second week I was there, but that's alright and only fair. We would make due--WE WERE GOING TO HAWAII!!!

So fast forward to now. Chuck passed the CPAT AND the swim & dive. I'm so proud of him! All that training paid off! And now his name is on a hire list and depending on budgets and how many they decide to hire, they pull names off that list to conduct interviews. We've both been getting asked, "So when will you know?" and we both pretty much say, "Your guess is as good as mine!"

I know that God has great things in store for our future and all I know is that if He has Hawaii planned for us, then He's going to make it happen. We'll all just have to wait and see.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

"You're so pretty..."

Is what my friend Katie and I always used to say whenever one of us makes a silly goof! So yes, I'm SO pretty that I'm beautiful for forgetting to send the link to this blog in my MASS e-mail! HA!

Oh, yeah... There's plenty more where that came from! :D

Hello blog world!

I've been itching to start one of these ever since Chuck and I got engaged. At first I thought it would be more of a wedding planning blog (which it probably will too, here and there) but now it's more if a chronicle of how things are going for us. I told Chuck that I wanted to start this blog yesterday and I told him how it would be a good way to help keep in touch with our family and friends--especially if we end up moving far away to Hawaii! (eeeeeeeeeeeee!!) So I credit the name of this blog to my wonderful fiance. Even though I'm technically not a Weagraff yet, he says I already am.

So here "wea" are.... Ready for us?

PS: This blog could've been really useful during our trip. It was very eventful! I'll just have to recap and you just have to stay tuned! :)